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AFSCME applauds boycott of Staples in support of postal workers

The AFSCME is endorsing the U.S. Postal workers' boycott of Staples for replacing good paying workers with temporary, low-paid workers.
The AFSCME is endorsing the U.S. Postal workers' boycott of Staples for replacing good paying workers with temporary, low-paid workers.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) has endorsed the boycott of Staples by United States Postal Service employees for its recent anti-worker actions, according to Union on Thursday. The Postal workers' boycott of Staples came in the wake of the decision by the Staples Corporation to open eighty-two centers throughout the United States and to hire low-paying employees to man such centers.

In a letter to the CEO of Staples Inc, Ronald L. Sargeant, AFSCME President Lee Saunders told Sargeant that his organization was asking its members, supporters, family members, etc., to join AFSCME and "take their business elsewhere." Sargeant went on to explain that he objects to replacing union workers with decent wages with jobs that have high turnover, low pay and little or no job stability in the face of continuous turnover.

Staples Inc.'s plans to open eighty-two postal centers is a pilot program that threatens to affect all Massachusetts' Staples locations and all 1500 nationwide Staples stores eventually. In his letter to Sargeant, Saunders explained that as a result of Staples' plan to open postal centers with low paid workers, the USPS (United States Postal Service) had closed two dozen postal centers in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Saunders decried the things that only the USPS can provide:

"Only the U.S. Postal Service can accomplish the mission it has carried out with distinction for more than two centuries: Providing universal mail service to all Americans, in every corner of the country."

The USPS has been adversely affected by a whole host of variables other than these latest moves by Staples. It has been affected by high operational costs, increasing fuel costs, decreases in sales of first class stamps due to the internet and email, and threatening weather in various parts of the country, including tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, etc..

However, this pilot program by Staples threatens postal workers throughout the nation as they face multiple USPS center closures and possible layoffs and/or job reductions. In the meantime, the boycott of Staples is getting underway and Americans sigh over the likelihood of reduced USPS services and long lines as a result of widespread layoffs. The AFSCME is hoping that such reductions can be avoided if its boycott movement is successful and Staples discontinues its pilot program.

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